Relay for Life kicks off Friday
Relay for Life, an annual worldwide event to raise cancer awareness and money for research, returns to Wilton this week.
About 500 people participated in last year’s relay, which had a 1960s theme. This year, the theme is superheroes, which will be “a lot of fun,” said Sara Augenbraun, chair of Wilton’s Relay for Life Committee.
Wilton’s Relay for Life at Wilton High School will kick off Friday, May 29, at 6:30 p.m., with an opening ceremony to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, share recent accomplishments and progress, and remind people that although the battle against cancer is being won, fighting the disease is a year-round priority.
The opening ceremony will be followed by more than 10 events and activities into early the next morning, including:
- Survivors Lap for those who have beaten cancer.
- Caregivers Lap to honor those who have ever cared for someone with cancer.
- Luminaria Ceremony to remember those who have lost their lives to cancer, honor those who have fought cancer in the past and support those whose fight continues.
The event will end with a closing ceremony to remember those whose lives were lost to cancer and to celebrate those committed to fighting the disease.
This year’s Wilton Relay for Life Committee has been meeting at least once a month to plan and prepare this year’s relay, said Augenbraun, who is also a breast cancer survivor, American Cancer Association volunteer and Relay for Life participant of 15 years.
Prior to Friday’s relay, she said, “lots of fund-raisers” have been held to benefit Wilton Relay for Life, including bake sales and luminaria bag sales for the Luminaria Ceremony.
Augenbraun said some stores in town will also hold events to raise funds for Wilton Relay for Life after May 30.
“Ancona will probably hold a wine-tasting for us, Open House will have a day when certain proceeds come to us, and Jersey Mike’s is going to do a fund-raiser for us,” she said.
“We just have a lot of people doing things to raise money via fund-raiser sales.”
As of Monday, May 25, more than $57,500 had been raised by 53 teams and 389 participants for Wilton’s Relay for Life.More than 4 million people in more than 20 countries participate in Relay for Life each year to raise cancer awareness and research funds.
Augenbraun, who is this year’s top participant, with $7,300 raised as of May 25, said Wilton raised “more than some of the larger towns” last year.
Wilton Relay for Life raised $136,000 of its $150,000 goal last year, according to Augenbraun, who said the committee is “still aiming high” with a goal of raising $160,000 this year.
As of May 25, the Wilton teams raising the most money this year were:
- Committeed to the Cause: $9,596.
- Boots Retail USA - Norwalk: $9,250.
- The DREAM Team: $5,050.
Wilton High School freshman Kennedy Snyder, who has been battling cancer since the age of 2, is this year’s Wilton Relay for Life honorary chair.
Kennedy and her friends on The DREAM Team have participated in Wilton’s Relay for Life since sixth grade and will do so again this year, she told The Bulletin in March.
“I’m looking forward to all of it,” she said, “especially the nighttime when all of my friends come for the Luminaria Ceremony.”
Schedule of events
- 3:30 p.m. — Survivor registration opens.
- 5:30 p.m. — Survivor reception.
- 4:30 p.m. — Registration opens.
- 6:30 p.m. — Opening ceremonies.
- 7 p.m. — Survivors lap.
- 7:30 p.m. — Scavenger hunt, hosted by Team Super Troopers.
- 8 p.m. — Super Hero lap.
- 8:30 p.m. — Water balloon toss, hosted by Team The Tumorators.
- 9 p.m. — Luminaria.
- 9:40 p.m. — Birthday lap.
- 10 p.m. — Mr. Relay, hosted by the Relay for Life Committee.
- 11:30 p.m. — Spirit of Relay ceremony.
- 11:45 p.m. — Wilton Warrior Spirit lap and farewell to those who are unable to stay overnight.
- 12 a.m. (May 30) — Zumba.
- 12:30 a.m. — Twin lap.
- 1 a.m. — Musical chairs, hosted by the Walkoholics.
- 1:30 a.m. — Avengers movie.
- 3 a.m. — Massive rock-paper-scissor-shoot competition, hosted by the Relay for Life Committee.
- 4 a.m. — Morning dance-a-thon or yoga.
- 5 a.m. — Closing ceremonies.
- 5:15 a.m. — Break down and clean up.
“I love to see people having a ton of fun,” said Augenbraun, “and also remembering why we’re there, which is for people we’ve lost, people we’re helping fight the disease and survivors like me.”
Click here for more information on Wilton Relay for Life.